Vegans are nuts about Dunkin’ Donuts now that the chain — which has more than 7,500 restaurants across the country — has started offering Almond Breeze‘s vanilla-flavored almond milk at most of its U.S. locations. I’m hoping it will start offering vegan chocolate donuts soon too, but hey, almond milk is a great start, especially for people who can’t start their day without a latte.
According to John Costello, Dunkin’ Brands’ president of global marketing and innovation, almond milk was introduced to Dunkin’s menu in response to growing consumer demand. The sweet, nutty beverage becomes more and more popular each year, with consumption growing at an average annual rate of 66 percent since 2010. Dunkin’ says that it chose almond milk (over soy or coconut milk) because it’s one of the country’s most popular dairy-free beverages and a good source of calcium and vitamins D, E, and A. And it tastes great, too.
If you have a nut allergy or if you simply prefer soy or coconut milk, don’t worry. You can still enjoy a tasty, dairy-free cup of joe from Starbucks, which has offered soy milk since 1997 and is currently testing coconut milk at its coffee shops in Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Oregon. The current round of tests follows an original testing phase in Everett, Washington and San Diego.
Most other large coffee chains — including Caribou Coffee Company, the second-largest coffee retailer in the U.S., after Starbucks — offer dairy-free milk. Peet’s Coffee & Tea has both soy and almond milk, as does Argo Tea, which has locations in Boston, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Chicago, New York, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. In March, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf began offering almond-coconut milk in all its 179 U.S. company-owned stores.
Many regional coffee shops and cafés now offer dairy-free options, too. For example, Simon’s Coffee House in Sarasota, Florida, gives customers a choice of rice, soy, or almond milk. And Elliot’s Fair Grounds in Norfolk, Virginia — which is only minutes from the Sam Simon Center, PETA‘s headquarters — will gladly make your coffee or tea with soy milk upon request.
If you prefer smoothies to espressos, you can get refreshing dairy-free fruity drinks from many popular smoothie chains, including Tropical Smoothie Café (my fave because it also offers sandwiches and wraps that are made with Beyond Meat), Jamba Juice, and Smoothie King, which recently introduced two new vegan smoothies to its menu: dark chocolate banana and mango kale. Yum!
It’s no surprise that more and more coffee shops and smoothie joints are offering soy, almond, or coconut milk. As Costello pointed out, the consumer demand for dairy-free milk is high. The dairy-alternative beverage market is forecast to reach $14 billion by 2018, as people become more concerned about animal welfare and health issues that are linked to the consumption of dairy products.
This is good news not only for cows but also people who like to start their day with a trip to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. And if you don’t quite have the budget to visit a barista every day, you can always “supplement” your coffee routine with a cheaper store-bought coffee beverage, such as So Delicious’s Cococcino Mocha or Cococcino Latte. And fruit smoothies are simple to make—just blend 8 ounces of soy or almond milk with half a frozen banana and 1 cup of berries.
I always like to hear about vegan-friendly cafés. So if your local coffee shop, smoothie joint, or café offers nondairy options, let me know in the comments.
"Vegans Can Now Run on Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Drinks" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.